On September 7, New York’s highest court unanimously ruled against assisted suicide. They wrote, “At present, the Legislature of this State has permissibly concluded that an absolute ban on assisted suicide is the most reliable, effective, and administrable means of protecting against its dangers.” They described those dangers:
As summarized by the Supreme Court, the State’s interests in prohibiting assisted suicide include: “prohibiting intentional killing and preserving life; preventing suicide; maintaining physicians’ role as their patients’ healers; protecting vulnerable people from indifference, prejudice, and psychological and financial pressure to end their lives; and avoiding a possible slide towards euthanasia.”
This echoes what the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law stated back in 1994:
The risk of harm is greatest for the many individuals in our society whose autonomy and well-being are already compromised by poverty, lack of access to good medical care, advanced age, or membership in a stigmatized social group. The risks of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia for these individuals, in a health care system and society that cannot effectively protect against the impact of inadequate resources and ingrained social disadvantages, would be extraordinary.
How many times does it have to be said?